Last Big Private Property Inside Rocky Mountain National Park Protected

Land inside Rocky Mountain National Park – including a group of rental cottages that has greeted hundreds of thousands of visitors who enter the park — has been purchased and will eventually be added to the park, The Trust for Public Land and the Rocky Mountain Conservancy announced today.

The 42-acre Cascade Cottages property was the largest privately-owned property inside the park and a single family had operated the rustic summer cottages since 1941.

“Rocky Mountain National Park is one of America’s greatest parks and we are glad we can help protect this place for the future generations of visitors,” said James R. Petterson, Colorado director of The Trust for Public Land.

“Our friends, donors and local communities once again demonstrated their love for Rocky Mountain National Park and the need to protect it by supporting the Cascade Cottages campaign. The Conservancy received over 600 individual gifts to ensure that this critically important parcel would become part of the park. We continue to be inspired by their generosity,” said Charles Money, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Conservancy.

Brent Johnson, a member of the family who owned the cottages and one of the co-managers of the property, said, “When my grandparents first began operating these cottages, they always said they hoped that someday this land would eventually be added to the park because this is such a special place.  Today, it feels good to honor their wishes.”

The cottages are about one mile inside the Fall River entrance, where more than 350,000 cars a year enter the park. The future of the cottages has yet to be determined.

The two organizations paid $3.4 million for the property and eventually plan to add it to the park. Half the price, $1.75 million, was raised privately by the Rocky Mountain Conservancy.  Other financing came from the Larimer County Open Lands Program, the Estes Valley Land Trust and the Town of Estes Park.

“We are grateful that through the support of so many we are able to acquire the largest remaining privately-held property within the park’s boundary. This is an incredible gift to the park,” said Ben Bobowski, the park’s Acting Superintendent.

The Rocky Mountain Conservancy promotes stewardship of Rocky Mountain National Park and similar lands through education and philanthropy. In the past 30 years, the Conservancy has raised more than $25 million to enhance and protect the park’s trails, lands, youth education, historic structures, and more. Learn how to get involved at

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come.  Millions of people live near of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.  To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit

The Trust for Public Land: Tim Ahern, 415-710-9095, email
Rocky Mountain Conservancy: Julie Klett, 970-586-0108, email
Rocky Mountain National Park: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363, email